U.S. retailers on Thursday reported strong same-store sales in October, supported by boosted consumer confidence, signaling they are well prepared to seize massive opportunities from the upcoming holiday shopping season.
Macy's Inc., the second-biggest U.S. department-store chain, reported total sales of 1.908 billion U.S. dollars for the four weeks ending Oct. 27, up 3.6 percent from the same period a year ago. On a same-store basis, the sales of the retailing giant rose 4.1 percent in October as compared to the previous year.
The Cincinnati-based Macy's also said its sales totaled 6.076 billion dollars for the third quarter, up 3.8 percent compared with the same period last year. It also raised its estimate for same-store sales growth in the second half of 2012 to approximately 4 percent.
Target, the second-biggest U.S. discount retailer, posted a 2.4 percent increase in same-store sales in October. Gap, the biggest specialty-apparel retailer also reported that its sales increased 4 percent last month and the third quarter profit may climb to as much as 63 cents a share, topping analysts' estimate of 54 cents.
Moreover, the same-store sales in October, excluding drugstores, for more than 20 companies tracked by Massachusetts-based researcher Retail Metrics Inc., advanced 5 percent, following a 3. 9 percent increase in a month earlier.
Economist said that such strong performance by retailers was boosted by rising consumer confidence, as the two U.S. presidential candidates implied that most of the Bush tax cuts and the payroll tax cuts would be promptly extended.
U.S. consumer confidence in October jumped to 82.6, the highest level in more than five years, according to the final reading of Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment revealed last week.
Given the robust sales in October, retailers and analysts all believe that American retailing industry will see solid growth in the upcoming holiday season from November to December. This period is traditionally the hottest shopping season in America.
"We are feeling confident about our prospects for the upcoming holiday season and have increased our sales guidance for the fall season, despite the interruption caused by Hurricane Sandy in the first few days of the fourth quarter, " said Terry J. Lundgren, president of Macy's.
Colder weather, which can spur sales of heavy winter coats and sweaters, would also help retailers to gain, analysts say.
U.S. holiday sales this year would increase to 586.1 billion dollars, up 4.1 percent from the previous year, according to the forecast by National Retail Federation (NRF) last month. The estimated growth was higher than the 10-year average holiday sales increase of 3.5 percent. The actual holiday sales rose by 5.6 percent last year.